When Fox News’ Washington D.C.-based correspondent Kristin Fisher covers NASA’s launch of two astronauts to the International Space Station on Elon Musk’s SpaceX Crew Dragon Wednesday, she’ll be one up on her rivals at other networks. Fisher, 36, is the daughter of two astronauts. Her mom, Dr. Anna Fisher, now 70, was the first “mom in space” when she climbed aboard the Discovery in November 1984; Kristin was 14 months old. Her dad Dr. Bill Fisher, 74, now an emergency room physician in Houston, followed his wife into space in 1985. He conducted two space walks on his flight, one of which was the longest of its kind at the time. Both astronauts flew into space once on one-week missions. Anna continued working for NASA until her retirement in 2017. Bill left NASA in 1992 and returned to emergency medicine, which he still practices today. Here Kristin Fisher recalls what it was like growing up an “astro-tot” to The Post’s Dana Kennedy.
I took my childhood a little bit for granted. I grew up in a neighborhood five miles from NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Our friends were other astronaut families. It was exciting — but for me it was normal.
My mom would wake me up for every space launch. She did a countdown and cheer for every blastoff — and my sister and I would roll our eyes.
Now I do the countdowns for my 2-and-a-half-year-old daughter Clara during the unmanned space launches like the SpaceX mission which was a precursor to this launch.
My parents met when they were med students at UCLA in the mid-1970s. My dad saw something in the paper about astronaut openings and he brought it over to my mother and said, ‘We should apply.’ (My dad has already applied once — as a 12-year-old!)
Neither had a military background. My mother was accepted first. My dad was turned down twice by NASA before he was finally accepted. He took one of the rejection letters into space with him in 1985 when he flew aboard the Discovery space shuttle STS-51-I as mission specialist.
It’s one of the great regrets of my life that I was too little to remember when my mom flew or two years later when my dad flew. I’ve seen so many pictures and there’s a little memory here and there but that’s it.
One thing I do remember is the Challenger accident in 1986. My mom came to school to pick me up. I was 4 years old and I remember her explaining it to me. My parents had been friends with the victims. My mom was in the first class of women astronauts with Judy Resnik, the second woman in space who was on the Challenger mission.
My mom was supposed to be on the flight after Challenger. It was devastating. It made the risk real.
Everyone’s asked me my whole life if I wanted to be an astronaut. I was fascinated by it but I also wanted to carve my own path separate from my parents. I was very intrigued by television. Blending public performance and doing service appealed to me. At one point in fourth grade, my teacher turned our classroom into a newsroom and I was hooked.
Also, my parents and my younger sister are sort of on the genius scale. I’m smart but not on their level of math and science. My strength was always in writing and English.
I loved accompanying the president as a reporter on his secret trip to Afghanistan last year. I got the call right before Thanksgiving and I couldn’t really tell anyone what it was. My mom had come in for the holiday but she didn’t bat an eye when I told her I had to leave. It was the coolest assignment of my career. My dad said, “That might have been your space walk.”
One of the reasons given for humanity’s push into outer space is because of a concern about what would happen to the human species if something terrible happened on Planet Earth. So the fact that this launch is happening during a pandemic is, I think, very fitting.